Jackson Njau

Jackson Njau

Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences

Office:   GY513
Phone:   812-856-3170

Non-Departmental Academic Positions

  • Research Associate, The Stone Age Institute and the Center for Research into the Anthropological Foundations of Technology (CRAFT), Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., 2006, Rutgers University
  • M.A., 2000, Rutgers University
  • B.A. 1992, University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Previous Positions

  • 2009-11 Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Human Evolution Research Center, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2006-11 Principal Curator, National Museum of Tanzania, Tanzania

Research Interests

My research seeks to understand the relationship between paleolandscapes and paleoenvironmental contexts of hominin evolution. My research combines broad range of paleoanthropological approaches including archaeology, paleontology, taphonomy and occasionally actualistic studies of predators in natural environments. The primary interest of my research is to determine ecological conditions that influenced hominin adaptations and behavior. Over the last ten years my research has focused on the impact of crocodile predation on hominin behavior at Olduvai Gorge a site, which is perhaps the most famous of all archaeological sites informing on human evolution. My research integrates taphonomy, ecology, archaeology and geology with the goal of understanding the paleoenvironmental contexts of hominin evolution.

Research Projects

Over the years I have co-led various interdisciplinary research projects in Africa:

  • Currently, I am co-directing the Olduvai Gorge Coring Project (OGCP). The objective of this project is to reconstruct paleoenvironmental contexts of hominin evolution through scientific drilling. While the drill cores provide detailed records of climate history, paleoenvironments and new radiometric age of paleoanthropological contexts, OGCP is also investigating the development of Olduvai Paleolake Basin by using passive seismic surveys.
  • Olduvai Geochronology and Archaeology Project
  • Olduvai Vertebrate Paleontology Project
  • Olduvai Gorge Landscape Paleoanthropology Project

Graduate Student Projects

  • Silvia Ascari M.Sc. Isotopic Analyses of Fossil Bones and Teeth of Herbivores and Crocodiles from Upper Bed I-Upper Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.
  • Paul Farrugia Ph.D. )Crocodylian Craniodental Ecomorphology and Ecological Niche Modeling: A New Approach for Reconstructing Hominin Paleoecology in the East African Rift System.
  • Brendan Fenerty M.S. A High-Resolution Reconstruction of the Plio-Pleistocene Paleogeographic and Climatic Context of Hominin Evolution in the Olduvai Basin, Tanzania.
  • Robin Green Ph.D. Ostracodes and Paleoenvironmental Change at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.
  • David Grossnickle M.S. 2013. Angiosperm radiation decreased diversity in Cretaceous mammals.
  • Sarah Swartz M.S. Quaternary Faunal Diversity and Turnover at Olduvai Gorge.

Current Professional Service

At departmental level I am member of the graduate admission committee.

At the national and international level I am a regular reviewer of national and international journals and grants, and I have served in various capacities within international professional organizations including the South African Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) as member of the scientific advisory committee, the East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Paleontology (EAAPP) as Vice President.

Develop the Olduvai Comprehensive Database Initiative in collaboration with Prof. Leslea Hlusko.